“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed, citizens can change the world.
Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.” - Margaret Mead
In 1973, Rebecca Lowry, a local school teacher, started voicing her concerns about the children that were coming to school hungry. Difficulties loomed over the local economy, the needs of the community and the number of children living in poverty began to grow. It is from this deep concern that Ms. Lowry formed a steering committee and together birthed the humble beginnings of what was soon to become, GRASP. Ms. Lowry alongside her committee began addressing the issues of local poverty and providing nutrition to local children and their families who had the greatest of needs.
Today, that need is evident more than ever as the median family house-hold income in Great Falls, according to the US Census Bureau is $30,797 annually - that is $25,430 below the state average of $56,227, leaving nearly 30% of the population residing under Federal Poverty levels.
GRASP's mission, for over forty-six years has always been to provide immediate assistance to families and individuals in need that live in the area served by Great Falls schools. Today we have also added educational programs as well as prescription medication assistance, financial literacy classes and a thrift shop.
In the early years,GRASP services were provided by volunteers out of their homes or churches via word of mouth or phone calls. In today's busy, digital society, the smooth operation of yesteryears phone tree and committee availability quickly became obsolete with the need to accommodate more families. It became evident that a central and physical location where clients could come, complete applications, meet with someone face to face and receive services was necessary. In 2015, the GRASP Crisis Relief Center was opened and the client base continues to rise. GRASP now has several programs to assist families and works fervently to continue breaking down the barriers of sustainability and rural poverty and economic disparities.